Welcome Fund Awards $1.5 Million to Support Sponsorship of Ukrainian Newcomers in Five Cities

Press Release

December 15, 2022

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More than $21 million raised and $17 million disbursed by Welcome Fund since Welcome.US launched in September 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, the Welcome Fund, in partnership with GoFundMe.org, awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to strengthen local infrastructure for supporting the sponsorship of Ukrainian newcomers. Each ‘sponsor hub’ is a coalition of community-based organizations working together to recruit new sponsors, centralize access to social services, and build mutual support among sponsors. These sponsor hubs are located in five of the top metropolitan areas receiving high numbers of Ukrainian newcomers: Chicago metro area, New York City metro area, Philadelphia metro area, Sacramento metro area, and Seattle metro area. These efforts, which represent a coalition of community-based organizations working together, will provide assistance to sponsors by connecting them to local resources and other forms of support.

“We are so proud and excited to support these incredible organizations who are helping create a national movement of welcome,” said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash. “Right now, sponsorship is the most impactful way Americans can help welcome newcomers, but it can be complex. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the frontline organizations supporting sponsorship have the resources they need to advance and expand their work.”

This is the third major set of grants announced by the Welcome Fund, a project of Welcome.US, to leverage philanthropic support so that people fleeing their homelands are connected to welcoming communities across the United States. The Welcome Fund has disbursed more than $17 million to 185 organizations directly welcoming newcomers since its launch in September 2021.

Today’s grantees are nonprofits that provide frontline support for sponsoring Ukrainians and bring a wide range of assets to the welcoming infrastructure, including new networks of volunteers, language and cultural competencies, and knowledge of and support to navigate U.S. systems. 

Grantees:

  • Chicago metro area: Selfreliance Association, a community resource center, supported by Selfreliance FCU, the nation’s largest Ukrainian American focused credit union, quickly became the go-to organization for Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) new arrivals in Chicagoland. The organization responded to newcomer needs with a one-stop center, now operating from five locations in metro Chicagoland, offering resources, ESL classes, and social services providers to approximately 3,000 new arrivals to date. They are partnering with World Relief Chicagoland, a resettlement agency with deep sponsorship expertise, to recruit and directly serve sponsors, helping them complete their sponsor applications, access resources, and connect with other sponsors.
  • New York City metro area: Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative, Ukraine Immigration Task Force, Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, New Jersey Realtors United for Ukrainian Refugees, and Hearts & Homes for Refugees formed a unique consortium that brings together a diverse set of partners well-versed in meeting sponsor and newcomer needs. They have strong connections to the Ukrainian American community and will serve sponsors throughout New York and northern New Jersey. The consortium will provide direct social services ranging from pro bono legal advice to housing assistance, and build a community of support among sponsors that shares best practices and timely resources.
  • Philadelphia metro area: The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, in partnership with Ukrainian churches, cultural institutions, and social service agencies will connect Ukrainian newcomers and their sponsors with a broad range of bespoke resources. The effort will complement an existing endeavor led by the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and funded by the Welcome Fund to recruit sponsors in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
  • Sacramento metro area: Established as a local community nonprofit and cultural association, Ukrainian American House pivoted to providing humanitarian aid through its ParaSOLka (“umbrella”) project to thousands fleeing Ukraine. ParaSOLka is partnering with Alight, an organization with deep experience mobilizing and supporting sponsors, to recruit and connect sponsors with sponsor guides that can help them and the families they have sponsored access local resources. Additionally, a program navigator will facilitate weekly support groups among sponsors to build a network of ongoing support.
  • Seattle metro area: The Ukrainian Community Center of Washington is a Ukrainian social services organization specializing in immigration, behavioral health, senior support, and benefits navigation. The Ukrainian Association of Washington State is a cultural organization that pivoted to providing humanitarian aid when the war in Ukraine broke out. Nashi Immigrants Health Board is a health education organization skilled in helping Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking communities navigate complex social service systems. The three organizations have formed a consortium to enlist community members as U4U sponsors and guide sponsors as they navigate services ranging from mental health to employment.

About Welcome.US

At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming—and telling their stories—we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States.

To learn more about Welcome.US, please visit welcome.us.

A project of Welcome.US, the Welcome Fund provides philanthropy, major donors, and the private sector an effective and coordinated national mechanism that will enable communities to not only support those seeking refuge, but also to build a movement of welcome that extends beyond this immediate crisis. The Welcome Fund is governed by an independent Advisory Committee that ensures that funds are disbursed with integrity and directed to address the most pressing needs and emerging issues. The Advisory Committee is comprised of leaders who bring lived experience, refugee resettlement expertise, grantmaking knowledge, and other resources that are essential to executing the Welcome Fund’s mission.

About GoFundMe.org GoFundMe.org, a public charity, manages and receives donations for the Welcome Fund from individual and philanthropic donors. Recommendations for potential grantees are made by the Welcome Fund Advisory Committee to GoFundMe.org, which provides rigorous fiduciary and compliance oversight; supports rapid deployment of grants; and ensures timely and transparent reporting.

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